Beyond everyday life: Information seeking behavior in deeply meaningful and profoundly personal contexts


  • Permission to make digital or hard copies of all or part of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. To copy otherwise, or republish, to post on servers or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee.


Information seeking behavior research is traditionally partitioned into two realms of life experiences: 1) work or job related; 2) everyday life information seeking (Savolainen, 2010). These two spheres encompass a significant share if not majority of life's time and effort at the universal level. This paper examines information seeking behavior within two specific contexts far outside the realm of everyday life. Characterized as deeply meaningful and intensely personal with life-long impacts, these contexts may not easily fit within existing information seeking behavior framework. We use examples from lived experiences in two deeply meaningful contexts to explore the scope of everyday life information seeking (ELIS), through women who relinquished a child for adoption and from sperm donor offspring who have tried to uncover the identity of their donor. Situations like these have profound impact on the focal person; perceived information needs and search strategies directly affect processes of decision making, coping, and understanding of one's self. Continuing the shift toward a more person centric approach, we suggest information seeking behavior within some contexts should be explored as a third facet of life experience: the deeply meaningful and profoundly personal.